Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Album Review: Greg Humphreys - Realign Your Mind

While some musicians struggle to keep one band together, others seem to flourish as their number of projects increases. Local musician Greg Humphreys is one of the latter. On his second solo record, Realign Your Mind, Humphreys proves that he can't be pinned to the funkiness of Hobex or the pop-rock of Dillon Fence.

Just as it sounds like you can predict the album's general direction—soft acoustic rock—Humphreys turns you on your head with "Way Over Yonder." The track has much more of a bluegrass feel, with a banjo and fiddle forming the tune's backbone. Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin, of local folksy favorites Mandolin Orange, provide backing vocals.

The duo sticks around for "Thought I'd Be a Rambler," and in a way, on through "So You Say That You Love Me." The opening guitar riff sounds almost identical to that on Mandolin Orange's track "These Old Wheels," off of their excellent debut Quiet Little Room.

"So You Say That You Love Me" may remind you of Mandolin Orange, Humphreys quickly veers the track elsewhere. He continues to bounce around musically with the beachy "When You Comin' Home" and the ballad "Used Vehicle," an extended metaphor comparing cars to lovers and relationships. His words are clear and honest, with an egalitarian, common-man feel to them.

Though it sometimes feels a bit standard, Realign Your Mind remains a good record. Humphreys' smooth voice combined with calm instrumentals create a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. Musically, he manages to move around a good bit while keeping it acoustic--influences from jazz to Latin are easy to hear. It's these smaller movements that keep the album from becoming dull.

Humphreys has no Triangle dates schedule at the moment, but one of his three acts will surely return him to a nearby stage soon enough.

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